Publication ethics checklist as a tool to promote research integrity
Sylwia Ufnalska, Council Member, European Association of Science Editors (EASE), freelance science translator and editor, Poznań, Poland
Ana Marušić, Vice-President, EASE, Editor in Chief, Journal of Global Health, University of Split School of Medicine, Split, Croatia
A brief publication ethics checklist, if used routinely by science journals in the submission procedure, might substantially help to prevent scientific misconduct. It would inform or remind authors about major ethical issues relevant to scientific publications. Such a checklist has been compiled as an appendix to EASE Guidelines for Authors and Translators of Scientific Articles to be Published in English, published by the European Association of Science Editors (EASE). The Guidelines are a concise and readable document, aimed to promote research integrity and effective communication in science worldwide. The document is freely available on the EASE website (/publications/author-guidelines) and its main part has already been translated into 20 languages. The Guidelines are reviewed annually (always in June), so the appendix on ethics can be modified in the next edition. We welcome your suggestions for improvement.
Is there a difference of similarity value during CrossCheck submission between accepted and rejected/unsuitable manuscripts?
Sun Huh, Department of Parasitology and Institute of Medical Education, Hallym University, Chuncheon 200-702, Korea
Purpose: This study investigated whether there is any significant difference between similarity values of accepted manuscript and those of rejected/unsuitable manuscripts. I would like to discuss if this kind of effort is a reasonable way to screen the manuscript before review process.
Methods: The unsolicited manuscripts to Journal of Educational Evaluation for Health Professions were divided asaccepted manuscript and rejected/unsuitable manuscripts. Out of them two manuscripts that were first rejected and accepted after re-submission were removed. Comparison analysis with Student’s t-test was done by statistical package, DBSTAT 5.0.
Results: Out of 28 unsolicited manuscripts, 10 were accepted (acceptance rate 35.7%). Mean similarity value of accepted manuscripts is 9.30 (range 0-38%, standard deviation 11.5, standard error 5.49). Mean of similarity value of rejected/unsuitable manuscripts is 24.17(range 3-65%, standard deviation 19.07, standard error 4.49). There was a significant difference of mean similarity value of two groups (p=0.0329, 95% confidence interval -1.3024 -28.4310). Since the lowest value of confidence interval is below 0, the statistical significance is not strong.
Conclusion: Although there was difference of similarity vale between accepted and rejected/unsuitable groups, it is difficult to say that similarity value is related with acceptance of manuscripts since the range is too wide; however, it is noticeable that similarity values of accepted manuscripts except one are all below 15%, it may be a simple criteria of acceptable manuscript, that is, if similarity value is over 15%, there is rare chance to be accepted. Since it is the results from a very small journal, more results should be obtained to generalize the above phenomena by co-work with colleague editors.
Keywords: CrossCheck, plagiarism, duplicate publication, comparison, acceptance, journal
Can authors’ editors help expedite peer review of the manuscripts they edit?
Shazia Khanam, PhD, ELS; Clarinda Cerejo, MSc, ELS, Cactus Communications Pvt. Ltd.
Background: We aimed to identify specific errors peer reviewers most frequently point out in manuscripts of non-native-English-speaking (NNES) authors, which authors’ editors can address before submission.
Methods: We categorized 475 peer reviewer comments related to study reporting in 72 biomedical manuscripts of NNES authors on the basis of the manuscript section and error type pointed out. Spearman rank correlation analysis was performed to determine the most frequently occurring error types for specific manuscript sections.
Results: Reviewers often found incomplete (p < 0.001) and inconsistent (p = 0.02) reporting and redundancy and wordiness (p = 0.016) in figures and tables. Errors in grammar and writing (p = 0.035) and style (p < 0.001) were found throughout the manuscripts. Unclear reporting was commonly noted in Methods (p = 0.075) and Results (p = 0.014), whereas structural changes were recommended most often in Results (p = 0.03) and Discussion (p = 0 .001).
Conclusion: Authors’ editors should focus on accuracy and conciseness in figures and tables and on correcting the overall language, grammar, and structure of manuscripts by NNES authors before submission. This could allow peer reviewers to focus on the validity and novelty of the study, possibly expediting the peer review process.
Effects of the direct rejection policy adopted for a broad-based chemistry journal on the final outcome
Denise Parent, Managing Editor; New Journal of Chemistry, Université Montpellier 2
This poster presents the effect of the level of direct rejection (without peer review) and who carries it out, on the overall rejection rate of submitted manuscripts over a period of 3 years. The evaluated papers were submitted to New Journal of Chemistry between 2010 and 2012. Direct rejection was carried out during different time periods by the associate editors or the managing editor, applying two levels (strict or lenient) of pre-screening. More than 3000 manuscripts were followed through to the final editorial decision. While the direct rejection rate varied from 25% to 42% the overall rejection rate stayed approximately constant, with the peer review rejection rate increasing inversely as the direct rejection rate decreased. Thus, to maintain the quality of the journal as perceived by the reviewers, it is probably better to reject manuscripts that appear to be of borderline quality or not fully in accord with the journal’s editorial policy. In addition, the eventual fate of manuscripts submitted in 2010 and the first half of 2011 was determined and analyzed.